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Federal Reserve System

Twentieth Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20551


CHAIR Janet L. Yellen
Vice Chair Stanley Fischer
Member Lael Brainard
Member Jerome H. Powell
Member Daniel K. Tarullo
Member (vacancy)
Member (vacancy)

Director, Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation Michael S. Gibson
Director, Division of Board Members Michelle A. Smith
Director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs Eric Belsky
Director, Division of Federal Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems Louise L. Roseman
Director, Division of Information Technology Sharon L. Mowry
Director, Division of International Finance Steven B. Kamin
Director, Division of Management Michell C. Clark
Director, Division of Monetary Affairs Thomas Laubach
Director, Division of Research and Statistics David W. Wilcox
General Counsel Scott G. Alvarez
Inspector General Mark Bialek
Secretary Robert deV. Frierson

The Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States, administers and formulates the Nation's credit and monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve System (FRS) was established by the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 221), approved December 23, 1913. Its major responsibility is to implement monetary policy. It also performs other functions: transferring funds, handling Government deposits and debt issues, supervising and regulating banks, and acting as lender of last resort.

The FRS contributes to the strength and vitality of the U.S. economy. By influencing the lending and investing activities of depository institutions and the cost and availability of money and credit, the FRS promotes the full use of human and capital resources, the growth of productivity, relatively stable prices, and equilibrium in the Nation's international balance of payments. Through its supervisory and regulatory banking functions, the FRS helps maintain a commercial banking system that is responsive to the Nation's financial needs and objectives.

The FRS comprises the Board of Governors; the 12 Federal Reserve Banks and their 25 branches and other facilities; the Federal Open Market Committee; the Federal Advisory Council; the Consumer Advisory Council; the Thrift Institutions Advisory Council; and the Nation's financial institutions, including commercial banks, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, and credit unions.

Board of Governors

The Board comprises seven members whom the President appoints with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Chair of the Board of Governors is a member of the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies. The Board determines general monetary, credit, and operating policies for the System as a whole and formulates the rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of the Federal Reserve Act. The Board's principal duties consist of monitoring credit conditions; supervising the Federal Reserve Banks, member banks, and bank holding companies; and regulating the implementation of certain consumer credit protection laws.

The Board has the power, within statutory limitations, to fix the requirements for reserves to be maintained by depository institutions on transaction accounts or nonpersonal time deposits. The Board reviews and determines the discount rate charged by the Federal Reserve Banks. For the purpose of preventing excessive use of credit for the purchase or carrying of securities, the Board is authorized to regulate the amount of credit that may be initially extended and subsequently maintained on securities (with certain exceptions).

Supervision of Federal Reserve Banks

The Board is authorized to make examinations of the Federal Reserve Banks, require statements and reports from such Banks, supervise the issue and retirement of Federal Reserve notes, require the establishment or discontinuance of branches of Reserve Banks, and exercise supervision over all relationships and transactions of those Banks with foreign branches.

Supervision of Bank Holding Companies

The FRS supervises and regulates bank holding companies. It tries to maintain the separation between banking and commerce by controlling the expansion of bank holding companies, preventing the formation of banking monopolies, restraining certain trade practices in banking, and limiting the nonbanking activities of bank holding companies. A company that seeks to become a bank holding company must obtain prior approval from the FRS and, upon becoming a bank holding company, must register and file reports with it.

Supervision of Banking Organizations

The FRS supervises and regulates domestic and international activities of U.S. banking organizations. It supervises State-chartered banks that are members of the System, all bank holding companies, and Edge Act and agreement corporations (corporations chartered to engage in international banking).

The Board has jurisdiction over the admission of State banks and trust companies to membership in the FRS, membership termination for these banks, the establishment of branches by these banks, and the approval of bank mergers and consolidations where the resulting institution will be a State member bank. It receives copies of condition reports submitted to the Federal Reserve Banks. It has the power to examine all member banks and the affiliates of member banks and to require condition reports from them. It has the authority to require periodic and other public disclosure of information with respect to an equity security of a State member bank that is held by 500 or more persons. It establishes minimum standards with respect to installation, maintenance, and operation of security devices and procedures by State member banks. It can issue cease-and-desist orders in connection with violations of law or unsafe or unsound banking practices by State member banks and to remove directors or officers of such banks in certain circumstances. It also can suspend member banks from use of the Federal Reserve System's credit facilities for using bank credit for speculation or other purposes inconsistent with the maintenance of sound credit conditions.

The Board may grant authority to member banks to establish branches in foreign countries or dependencies or insular possessions of the United States, to invest in the stocks of banks or corporations engaged in international or foreign banking, or to invest in foreign banks. It also charters, regulates, and supervises certain corporations that engage in foreign or international banking and financial activities.

The Board is authorized to issue general regulations permitting interlocking relationships in certain circumstances between member banks and organizations dealing in securities or between member banks and other banks.

The Board prescribes regulations to ensure a meaningful disclosure of credit terms by lenders so that consumers can compare more readily the various credit terms available and be informed about rules governing credit cards, including their potential liability for unauthorized use.

The Board has authority to impose reserve requirements and interest rate ceilings on branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States, grant loans to them, provide them access to Federal Reserve services, and limit their interstate banking activities.

Federal Open Market Committee

The Federal Open Market Committee comprises the Board of Governors and five of the presidents of the Reserve Banks. The Chair of the Board of Governors is traditionally the Chair of the Committee. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York serves as a permanent member of the Committee. Four of the 12 Reserve Bank presidents rotate annually as members of the Committee.

Open market operations of the Reserve Banks are conducted under regulations adopted by the Committee and pursuant to specific policy directives issued by the Committee, which meets in Washington, DC, at frequent intervals. Purchases and sales of securities in the open market are undertaken to supply bank reserves to support the credit and money needed for long-term economic growth, to offset cyclical economic swings, and to accommodate seasonal demands of businesses and consumers for money and credit. These operations are carried out principally in U.S. Government obligations, but they also include purchases and sales of Federal agency obligations. All operations are conducted in New York, where the primary markets for these securities are located. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York executes transactions for the Federal Reserve System Open Market Account in carrying out these operations.

Under the Committee's direction, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York also undertakes transactions in foreign currencies for the Federal Reserve System Open Market Account. These operations are meant to safeguard the value of the dollar in international exchange markets and facilitate growth in international liquidity in accordance with the needs of an expanding world economy.

Federal Reserve Banks

The 12 Federal Reserve Banks are located in Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX; Kansas City, MO; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Richmond, VA; San Francisco, CA; and St. Louis, MO. Branch banks are located in Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Buffalo, NY; Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; El Paso, TX; Helena, MT; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Miami, FL; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; Oklahoma City, OK; Omaha, NE; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; and Seattle, WA.

Reserves on Deposit

The Reserve Banks receive and hold on deposit the reserve or clearing account deposits of depository institutions. These banks are permitted to count their vault cash as part of their required reserve.

Extensions of Credit

The FRS is required to open its discount window to any depository institution that is subject to its reserve requirements on transaction accounts or nonpersonal time deposits. Discount window credit provides for Federal Reserve lending to eligible depository institutions under two basic programs: the adjustment credit program and another that supplies more extended credit for certain limited purposes.

Short-term adjustment credit is the primary type of Federal Reserve credit. It is available to help borrowers meet temporary requirements for funds. Borrowers are not permitted to use adjustment credit to take advantage of any spread between the discount rate and market rates.

Extended credit is provided through three programs designed to assist depository institutions in meeting longer term needs for funds. One provides seasonal credit, for periods running up to 9 months, to smaller depository institutions that lack access to market funds. A second program assists institutions that experience special difficulties arising from exceptional circumstances or practices involving only that institution. Lastly, in cases where more general liquidity strains are affecting a broad range of depository institutions, cases where institutional portfolios consist primarily of longer term assets, credit may be provided to address the problems of particular institutions being affected by the general situation.

Currency Issue

The Reserve Banks issue Federal Reserve notes, which constitute the bulk of money in circulation. These notes are obligations of the United States and are a prior lien upon the assets of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank. They are issued against a pledge by the Reserve Bank with the Federal Reserve agent of collateral security, including gold certificates, paper discounted or purchased by the Bank, and direct obligations of the United States.

Other Powers

The Reserve Banks are empowered to act as clearinghouses and as collecting agents for depository institutions in the collection of checks and other instruments. They are also authorized to act as depositories and fiscal agents of the United States and to exercise other banking functions specified in the Federal Reserve Act. They perform a number of important functions in connection with the issue and redemption of U.S. Government securities.

Sources of Information

Business Opportunities

Contact the Director, Division of Support Services, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551.


Written inquiries should be addressed to the Director, Division of Personnel, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington, DC 20551. A complete listing of job opportunities is available online.


An alphabetical list of publications is available online. For more information, contact Publications Fulfillment, 1709 New York Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20005. Phone, 202-452-3244.

Reading Room

A reading room for inspection of public records is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is located in room 3515 at 1801 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20551. Phone, 202-452-3684.

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